TURNING one’s back, even for just a second, can have catastrophic consequences in the kitchen.
As with other tasks such as getting behind a wheel every day, cooking at the kitchen stove is another task many do every day that turn nasty in a the blink of an eye.
Last year Leeton Fire and Rescue NSW responded to six kitchen fires and for many of them the sight left behind wasn’t pretty.
“A lot of people really don’t know how fast these things can happen,” Leeton Fire and Rescue Captain Graham Parks said.
“Distractions are the biggest factor in kitchen fires.
“The phone might ring or the kids playing outside want something.
“It can be dangerous to turn your back even for just a minute.”
According to Fire and Rescue NSW, 45 per cent of all NSW house fires start in the kitchen and are responsible for 34 per cent of injuries.
Since the beginning of this year, at least 53 people have been injured in kitchen fires alone.
Burns are significant as they have considerable consequences on health and well-being, often needing intensive and ongoing medical intervention, as well as long-term rehabilitation.
Captain Parks said the potential damage to the house should also have residents “looking while cooking”.
“When a fire starts in the kitchen it does get away very quickly,” he said.
“It ca get up into the range hood, through the cupboards, everything.
“Typically if a fire starts in the kitchen that entire area will need replacing. Most people have insurance, so that’s not a big hassle, but it is very inconvenient.
“The other big issue is the smoke.
“It can get through the whole house in the future, curtains, clothes.
“It can be tough to get rid of.”
Kitchen safety checklist
- Never leave cooking unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- It takes just three minutes for a fire to take hold, but only seconds to prevent one.
- Don’t put anything metallic in the microwave.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Store flammable items (aerosols, cleaning agents and cooking oil etc) away from heat.
- Don’t cook under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Keep loose clothing, fabrics, tea towels and curtains away from the stove.
- Turn pot handles inwards to avoid being knocked or grabbed by children.
- Keep your oven and rangehood clean. Excess grease and fat can ignite in a fire.
- Don’t use LPG cylinders for cooking or heating indoors.
- Never overload power points or power boards in the kitchen.
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
If a pan catches fire, remember:
- Never use water to put out a fat or oil fire
- Turn off the stove and use the lid to cover the flame
- Get out, stay out and call Triple Zero ‘000’.